Joe Oliver's open letter is right on the money. Critics of his comments miss the point entirely (see here and here).
As I highlighted earlier using the example of the Darlington nuclear power plants or the Bruce Power steam generators, large segments of the environmental movement are no longer interested in the safe construction of oil pipelines, nuclear power plants or other industrial projects. They are simply interested in stopping them altogether based on a narrow ideology influenced by personal opinions and unfounded fears. And they are interested in propagating their irrational fears to the general public.
Again, this is not to say that there aren't legitimate environmental concerns to industrial and energy projects. But separating legitimate concerns from the spurious ones is time consuming and costly, which is exactly what some want.
Nevertheless, overhauling the environmental assessment process is not necessarily going to change things so long as the radicals continue to look for ways to game the system. What is needed is rather a change in attitude on the part of the Canadian public and especially the media.
Environmental radicals need to be called out when they cross the line into obstructionism. When environmental groups calls for no time limits for all individuals and groups in public hearings (essentially giving any and every crackpot the ability to filibuster), the media should hound them for the absurdness of their demand. When they insist on a full accounting for all greenhouse gas emissions in nuclear power plant construction, the media should highlight the hypocrisy in not demanding the same for their solar and wind projects.
But that's just my opinion.